The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, also known as Equitable Life Insurance or The Equitable, was founded by Henry Baldwin Hyde in 1859 and based in New York. The French Insurance Company AXA bought control of the Equitable in 1991.
The Equitable was among the first companies to pay death claims immediately, with no protest or waiting period, and was one of the first to offer products with an investment component, such as variable life. The company now goes by the name AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company and has $533 billion in assets as of July 2015.
The company operates two divisions: insurance and investment management. The insurance division offers life insurance products and some investment products to individuals and small companies. The investment management division offers a range of investment products and services to institutional, retail and private clients.